Whether you’re a die-hard regular or virgin, the massive E17 Arts Trail, which took a brief hiatus last year after a storming 2015 event, is midway through its current run. Which means you can catch it only this or next weekend, as it ends on Sunday 18th June.
And that should, we hope, prepare you nicely for the forthcoming E11 biggie. The tenth – count ’em – Leytonstone Arts Trail is back this year in early July and features the work of over a hundred artists in thirty locations, as venues of all shapes and sizes transform into temporary galleries.
Started by a small group in 2007, the Trail has grown to be quite a powerful annual arts fixture in the local calendar. Entirely self-funded and run by volunteers, its purposefully egalitarian entry criteria attracts a diverse range of artists from hobbyists to professionals. So you’ll like some of it as much as you hate other bits. But that’s art, right?
This year, cafes, pubs, churches, homes and even a garden shed again host artworks in all media. You can expect live poetry, performance art, drop-in workshops and a tactile game about life; all are free or very minimal entrance charge. The idea is to plan your own tour, take in an event, invite your friends and soak up the atmosphere.
Two large clusters of Trail locations are at the top of the High Road, making a handy walk from the Quakers Meeting House via the North Star down to Leytonstone’s “Art Quarter” around Church Lane, with venues including coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants.
Other locations are more spread out as the Trail stretches to the edge of its postcodes: Norlington Studios have multiple artists exhibiting; recommended for anyone curious about a genuine studio experience.
Or head to neighbouring Leyton, with exhibitions at destination watering holes Leyton Technical and the Northcote as start and end points in a circular tour that takes in more Trail exhibitions along the increasingly hip Francis Road.